Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bumping into Other Sinners

An awesome quote from Pastor Weedon's blog:
When the logs from our eyes have been removed through Calvary, we see.  We see Jesus on the cross supplied by us, for us.  We see ourselves as forgiven sinners.  Then, when we bump into another sinner, we are able to help, for love comes sideways.  We know the things that contradict Christ and the pain and ruin they work.  We want each person we meet to be freed of them, and we are there to help him or her. --Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 170.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jesus' Golden Rule

Yesterday, Pastor Zeniya, gave us all a punch.  Most people in Japan grow up taking care (they're supposed to anyway) not to bother others.  Part of it may be due to the crowded living conditions.  Some of it is an attempt to protect another person's pride or privacy by not intruding where you may not be welcome.

But Zeniya-sensei asked us, "Did Jesus tell us to not do to others what we do not want them to do to us?"  That's the way the Golden Rule is put here in Japan.  Don't!  Don't bother someone else, then they won't bother you.  On the Last Day, is God going to ask us if we held back and "stayed out of it" when dealing with other people.  Or is He going to ask us if we reached out to help those in trouble and need.  Did we use our possessions, skills and talents to make our neighbors' lives better, or did we think it better to not get involved.

Don't confuse what the culture around us says and think that that's the way Jesus said it. 

"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets."  Matthew 7:12
Pastor spoke a bit about relationships, too, but I was thinking about how some Christians put so much emphasis on having a realtionship with Jesus.  Yes, it's true, we do have a relationship with Him.  I think all people do, actually, even if they don't realize it.  They are either in a good relationship or a bad one.  But that aside, the aspect that Pastor was trying to explain is that second most important commandment.

  One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"
   Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'
   "The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."  Mark 12: 28-31
   Now that we are baptized believers, we are free to reach out to those around us in need.  When we see someone in trouble, we can be "little Christs" to our friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and complete strangers.  Because Christ died on the cross to set us free from sin, we are free from worrying that we are "bothering" others.  Sounds so easy, doesn't it?


  Which is easier?  Not standing up to a bully on the playground, because if I don't bother him then he won't bother me?  Or standing up for someone being bullied, even if it means I'll be beat up by the bully, too?  Which one is really loving your neighbor as much as you love yourself?  If you were getting beat up by some big bad bully, you wouldn't mind someone coming to your rescue, would you?  ;-)

   Jesus' golden rule gets you involved in other people's lives.  The golden rule of this culture doesn't.  I don't remember where I first heard this, but it fits perfectly here.  'God doesn't need your good works, but your neighbor does.'